Monday, 2 June 2014 | MYT 10:26 PM
Eain Yow on the right path to success
Top Malaysian junior Ng Eain Yow (right) in a training session with Andrew Cross. He has set his sights on winning the World Junior Championship one day. - KNG ZHENG GUAN / The Star.
PETALING JAYA: At first glance, Ng Eain Yow looks like any 16-year-old boy.
He has active Facebook and Twitter accounts. He is well liked by friends and does just about anything a regular teenager would.
But he has one thing that most boys his age don’t - a burning desire to succeed in world squash.
Eain Yow aims to emulate national No. 1 Ong Beng Hee and become the second Malaysian to win the boys’ title at the World Junior Championships as well as to triumph in all the age categories of the prestigious British Junior Open.
For an accidental starter in squash, Eain Yow certainly has achieved a lot. He has already won twice at the British Junior Championships – in 2011 (Under-13) and 2013 (Under-15). He now wants to win the Under-17 and Under-19 to complete a historic set.
The Kuala Lumpur-born Eain Yow, fondly known as Yow, is also unrivalled in the Asian region. In the Asian Junior Championships, he won the Under-15 crown in 2012 and followed it up with the Under-17 title last year.
But had it not been for his father Hong Yuen, Eain Yow’s squash career would not have taken off.
“My dad was a social player and I started following him to the squash centre in Cheras when I was five,” said Eain Yow.
“I played a bit and trained, but it was nothing serious.
“The centre, however, later closed down. It wasn’t until I was seven that I went into it again. My dad and I saw an advertisement in the newspaper about the Squash Racquets Association of Federal Territories (SRAFT) starting coaching classes.
“That was when I first joined a proper squash training programme.”
And, the rest is history.
Eain Yow says he has no regrets about his decision. Why should he? It has certainly proved to be a good decision as it only took him a few years before he started winning matches against boys older than him.
With Malaysia lacking depth in the men’s department once 1998 world junior champion Beng Hee calls it a day, the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia are banking on Eain Yow, Mohd Syafiq Kamal and Mohd Farez Izwan to be Malaysia’s challenge on the world stage.
Under the guidance of coach Andrew Cross since he joined the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) at 13, Eain Yow’s feat in making the Under-17 final of the British Juniors this year proves he has a bright future.
“I think, over the years, my game has evolved quite a bit. I started off as a basic pressuring player (who is defensive), making it hard for others to beat me by picking up everything,” said Eain Yow.
“But I’ve gone through a few phases of changes to my game, most importantly adding the offensive element to it. I’m also working on my short game which is very crucial against professional and more experienced players.
“I played two Professional Squash Association (PSA) tournaments in Australia in May. It was my first professional tournament overseas and it was a real eye-opener.
“Those guys have better endurance and you can’t just finish them off with one shot like you do against the juniors. It was tough just keeping pace with them.”
The experience hasn’t put him off, though. In fact, Eain Yow is hungry to push on to the next level.
“There are many young players in the world, especially from Egypt. They have so many boys around my age who are ranked in the world top 100. For me, I still have a long way to go,” admitted Eain Yow, the world No. 293.
“My immediate goal is to win at least one world junior title and complete my British Junior Open set by winning the Under-17 and Under-19 titles,” said Eain Yow.
“I’m 16 now. I have at least three more years to achieve that, starting with the world juniors this year.
“It’s great that SRAM (Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia) are sending us to the world juniors this year (in Namibia from Aug 10-21). It’s something for us to look forward to.
“Malaysia have not had a boys’ representative at the world juniors since Ivan Yuen’s appearance in 2009. I feel we really deserve a chance because we can get into the final, especially in the team event.”
With Eain Yow’s passion and drive to succeed, the future of Malaysian squash seems to be in good hands.